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Top 10 Rookie Seasons In NBA History

By 12.07.11
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan Rookie Card


10. Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando Magic (1992-93)
Stats: 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game
Awards: All-Star Game, Rookie of the Year

Drafted by Orlando with the first pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, O’Neal became the first rookie ever to be named Player of the Week in his first week, and the first rookie to be start in the All-Star Game since Michael Jordan in 1985. By the end of the season, the Magic finished 41-41, winning 20 more games than the previous season.

9. David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs (1989-90)
Stats: 24.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game
Awards: All-Star Game, Rookie of the Year

Drafted by San Antonio with the first pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, Robinson had to serve two years in the Navy before making his NBA debut, leading the Spurs to the greatest single season turnaround in league history at the time. By the end of the season, the Spurs went from 21-61 to 56-26, a remarkable 35-game improvement and good enough to garner him All-NBA Third Team honors.

8. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers (1979-80)
Stats: 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game
Awards: All-Star Game, NBA Finals MVP

Drafted by Los Angeles with the first pick in the 1979 NBA Draft, Johnson is the only rookie on this list to be named NBA Finals MVP. Playing alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he started in the All-Star Game and compiled a 60-22 record in the regular season.

7. Wes Unseld, Baltimore Bullets (1968-69)
Stats: 13.8 points and 18.2 rebounds per game
Awards: All-Star Game, Rookie of the Year, MVP

Drafted by Baltimore with the second pick in the 1968 NBA Draft, Unseld joins Wilt Chamberlain as the only rookie to be named both the Rookie of the Year and NBA MVP. By the end of the season, he helped lead the Bullets to a 57-25 record and a division title, earning him All-NBA First Team honors.

6. Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls (1984-1985)
Stats: 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game
Awards: All-Star Game, Rookie of the Year

Drafted by Chicago with the third pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, the legacy of The G.O.A.T. started this year. And to think he only made the All-NBA Second Team.


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